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 Joseph Goss Cowell  (1886 - 1968)

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Lived/Active: Illinois/Massachusetts / France      Known for: marine, structure, graphics, mural painting and sculpture, art education

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A mural painter, sculptor, designer of stained glass windows and art educator, Joseph Goss Cowell was born on December 4, 1886 in Peoria, Illinois, where his father worked as an interior decorator.  He grew up in Peoria and attended Bradley College from 1908 to 1909, the University of Illinois from 1907-1908, the Art Students League of New York from 1908-1909, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston from 1909-1912, the County Council School of Arts and Crafts in London from 1914-1915 and the Academie Julien in Paris in 1920.

After serving in World War I, he lived in Paris, France among artists, writers and musicians.  There he painted several gruesome war scenes to release his emotions about the war.  On March 26, 1918, he married Helen Parkhurst, an accomplished violinist, pianist an organist.

Cowell was an instructor at the Massachusetts School of Art from 1922-1927, the Associate Director of Boston Designers Art School from 1927-1933, in the Creative Therapy and Research Department at Boston State Hospital from 1933-1939 and the Director of the National Art School in Washington, D.C., from 1940-1942.  He served with the Offices of Strategic Services from 1942-1943 and the Navy Hydrographic Office in Washington, DC in 1943.

He gave painting lessons in Wrentham, Massachusetts, taught adult education classes, designed memorials, painted art work, sculptured statues and was involved with other art related projects.  His work is evident in his design of the WWI memorial, which is the base of the flagpole in the center of town and the memorial to William Herbert Sweatt at the entrance to Sweatt Memorial Park. Paintings by Cowell are in town buildings, historical buildings and private homes in Wrentham.

Joseph Cowell died in October of 1968. He, his wife Helen and daughter Jean are all buried in the Cemetery of Trinity Church, with the graves marked by statues designed and sculpted by the artist. 

Boston Clerical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Boston City Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
St. Charles Church, Waltham, Massachusetts
Holy Ghost Church, Whitman, Massachusetts
Tower Theater, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, South Orange, New Jersey
Altar panels, Universalist Church St Paul's Church in Peoria, Illinois
Altar decorations, National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.
Altar paintings, Sevayatan Temple in Midnapur, India
A mural, a sculpture and altar decorations, St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria, Illinois
Triptych, Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, Illinois

Admiral Byrd (State House, Virginia)
Judge J. Willis Martin (Pennsylvania Athletic Club)
Lahiri Mahassaya (Self Realization Church, Washington D.C.) and several Wrentham citizens.

June Hajjar, Past President of the Arts Club of Washington wrote: "In 1940 Mr. Cowell painted a portrait of Hans Kindler (founder of the National Symphony Orchestra).  The portrait hangs in the Arts Club of Washington in Washington, DC."

Sources also include The Wrentham Historical Society; Social Security Death Index

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